Help! There are too many options.

If you have planned a wedding, looked for a photographer for senior pictures, inquired about family pictures or baby pictures, I’m sure you’ve run into this problem, right? Weddings would probably in fact be a lot less stressful if there weren’t so many options, correct? For example, you’re planning a wedding, you’ve take a look at a certain area and the photographers that are available in that area and at first glance it’s totally overwhelming. In my small rural area alone, in just a 10-15 mile radius you’ll easily find upwards of 50 photographers who all shoot weddings. WOW! I can’t imagine how hard it must be for those in larger areas, you probably have a photographer on each corner who all shoot weddings.

Why are there so many?

In the digital age we live in, it’s made it easy for people to pick up a decent camera and start shooting. And because photography doesn’t require a license of any sort, starting a business is as easy as picking up the camera. It’s also made it too easy to snap pictures that look good to the untrained eye. Photography is an art, however because of the ease of shooting anymore that “art” is being cheapened not only by price, but by skill. I remember shooting with a film camera and to capture a picture you had to know the settings you were shooting in and what each setting meant because you didn’t have an option of seeing what picture you were taking until about a week later when your film was developed (those days seem so long ago). Like I said though, digital has made it too easy. Many photographers who enter the market these days do not truly understand what their camera does and why. This is the reason many of them use the green “automatic” square. GASP! Can that be true? I’ve talked with just a handful of photographers in my area who do, and if there’s a handful here, I know that number is much higher in larger areas.

Why are you a $XXXX when xyz photography down the road is just a few hundred dollars?
(same goes for senior photographers who are only $50, and family/baby photographers)

All throughout my blogging, I’ve always been open and transparent because I know I myself like to know why products cost what they cost and what I’m going to receive out of it, so can I fill you in on a little secret? Let’s say a photographer charges $3000 for a wedding, this is a lot of money right? For most people this is a month’s income. So how can a photographer charge an average American’s monthly income to shoot a wedding? On that thought alone, a wedding photographer will make 3000 from your wedding that they have worked probably night and day at least 6 months on. So technically that photographer is making an average American’s monthly income in a span of six months. The six months comes from all the emails/phone calls, engagement session, editing, wedding day, editing, album creation, etc. That’s $500/month that photographer is making – $2500 under the average monthly income. Some more food for thought, at a more popular venue in my area, the cost of a snack table can run upwards of 500+ dollars, so in just value alone, is a wedding photographer who is charging 500/600 really valuing themselves at the equivalent of a table of peanuts? Do you as a bride value the pictures that will last forever to be equal with a table of peanuts?

For our brand, our price reflects more than just the quality of work we produce, and I know by this point I probably sound like a broken record, but for us it’s all about the experience; from our totally custom packaging of prints, our 2-3 week turnaround time for wedding pictures, the fact that we will travel virtually anywhere at no extra charge – these, of course are just a few examples. Either way, whether you are spending 2000 on a photographer or 10,000 it’s a large investment for you, I understand this, so we absolutely love doing anything we can to kind of go that extra mile to make it more than worth the investment in having great pictures!

Another thing to consider when it comes to price is probably the most obvious; camera equipment isn’t cheap. Sometimes you see senior photographers charging $50 and that’s it! Sounds like a great price right? Let’s say you’re out looking for a car and you find one for 10,000. Looks great, has lower miles, and drives great. Seems like a good deal. But then you find one that is only $500, WOW! What a savings! However it’s missing a transmission, the engine is blown, and there aren’t any rims. Is it worth the cost and the headache buying that $500 car? I mean, you did save 9500 dollars. I, personally, would not think the car is worth it. Same goes for your pictures, whether it’s senior, wedding, whatever. Sure there’s a big savings to be found, but there’s also a reason some cameras like the canon rebels are $800 and a Canon  1DX is $7000. And a photographer charging $50 for senior pictures does not have the resources to professional quality glass lenses, the professional camera, probably also lacks the knowledge of taking pictures so in this example the $50 photographer is missing their transmission, rims and engine. Now does this mean just because a photographer is cheap that they are bad? Not at all, we all start somewhere of course. Does it mean an expensive photographer is great? No. But let’s be real, if you invest a good amount in your pictures, the chances that the higher priced photographer providing an experience worth it is far higher than the cheaper photographer simply because they have the resources to do so.

How do I choose the right photographer for me?

Many photographers do not like to meet with their clients whether it’s for seniors or weddings. Why? I’m not sure. I find this to be one of the most enjoyable things about working with seniors and couples. It gives us a chance to get to know each other before shooting, as well as gives you a chance to get to know us to see if on a personality level you will enjoy working with us. Would you hire a repairman to work on your house before meeting with them? Probably not. Meeting with photographer is no different. If they are a cheaper price, why? Are they just starting out? Do they not have the equipment and resources a higher priced photographer has? These are questions to ask them.

Now, what does each photographer offer than you really want? Maybe it’s albums, quick turnaround time, fine art prints, etc. By this point you’ve probably chosen a photographer or two solely on personality, so choosing by the products and offerings you would find beneficial for you would be the next step. Do they package their prints or just give them to you in a plastic bag so to speak? Do they even offer you professional quality prints – there is a difference between walmart and our labs, I promise you that.

I’m sure by this point it’s super easy to choose who you’d want to work with, and the headache of choosing is no longer a six month long process. You’ve spent a few days in a couple meetings, made a couple phone calls and sent some emails and you’ve found a photographer that seems like they have a great personality that you will enjoy working with for the next year or so, they offer a lot of the product/offerings that you would like to have and in all this time price was never an issue. By choosing photographers solely based on price, I feel that this is what often times causes the most stress. Because like this whole post is about, there are SO many options and looking at all those numbers would do nothing but twist your mind in a knot and do nothing but confuse you. Number one suggestion – meet with the photographer, these are super beneficial for both parties, and allow you to go over exactly what is offered and even why prices are the way they are. Our job is not only to take pictures but to educate others why we do what we do. At least that’s how I feel. Anything I can help with to ease any stress of choosing a photographer, I’m more than happy to help out.

THat’s all for now! Have a happy Monday all! 🙂 Here’s a pictures we just finished that will be our first fine art matted print!